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Carol 17th May 2019 Retired Teacher
My husband has Vascular Dementia. His physical health is wonderful. He is in a wonderful memory care facility but is bored to death.This boredom and frustration occasionally rears its ugly head as aggression and depression. He constantly pleads for "something to do." He is not interested in games, reading, arts and crafts, movies, etc. He was a business owner. He longs for the days when he hired employees, oversaw work sites, issued bids, priced materials.....in general was THE BOSS. We are racking our brains to find something meaningful for him to do within the facility that gives his days purpose. Can you help???
Olwyn 18th May 2019 Diversional Therapist
Hello Carol,
I am sorry to hear your husband is frustrated. Good on you for reaching out. I have a couple of men in my dementia unit, one was a scientist, the other a busy business owner. At present they are engaged in meaningful roles to some extent. One helps with the "office work, mailings, photocopying, and updating the notice boards", and the other researches online for our orders of pens, craft materials, paint for the birdhouse which needs repainting, and I have managed to coerce maintenance to call on him and take him along on some of their jobs, passing them a spanner, or a screwdriver, when lights are cleaned, bulbs are changed, etc. He also at present is sanding and painting some tic tac toe oversized games pieces at the moment. Once a month we have a repair day also, of broken things bought in by staff and families. We discuss how it might be fixed, where we can access the parts, source the parts, make a plan, and then begin. Sometimes we watch youtube in our men's group pie and beer morning, watch builders, or forklift scurrying in the store room, truck loading etc. Sometimes things here even get fixed! Hope something in this list is helpful.All the best, O.
Susan 19th May 2019 Activity Director
Hi Carol
I am sorry to hear about your husband as well
Some ideas that Olwyn suggested May work for him
Something I am suggesting is that you write a letter to your husband under an anonymous name asking for his help saying that you know he was a great businessman and that he needs help with whatever your husband was good at asking questions That your husband can answer
You can also get some local businessman to volunteer to come to see him if they're willing to
Schools often require their students to volunteer so maybe you could get a student volunteer to talk business with your husband
Maybe if he is capable he could write a book it doesn't have to be fancy but see what he thinks of that idea
Also he must have some other interests that you may have to dig deep to find
There is an article on Golden Carers that may help you
https://www.goldencarers.com/client-assessment-getting-to-know-your-client/4477/

I hope you have joined a caregiver support group because it will be Of great benefit to you
Also people in the group may have ideas for you
Good luck let us know if anything works
Thank you
Kim 21st May 2019 Activity Officer
Hi Carol, I am very sorry to hear about your husband, but I think it is wonderful that you are reaching out for ideas to assist in his journey. We have a resident very similar and was an accountant/solicitor who was just bored out of his brain but also had vascular dementia. We engaged him in helping run our football tipping competition, going around with a folder (which he loves doing) asking the residents their tips for the week and then updating the calendar at the end of each round. Staff did double check before it went up on the boards. He also like doing messages and taking folders from one dept to another. We had a desk/office area set up for him with everything a usual desk has. We found him often in peoples room (with their permission sitting taking notes doing legal work with wills etc) co residents always sought him out asking advice and he would say come to my office for a chat. His family brought in folders with "work" for him to do and would pick it up and take it home with them. He also did any laminating we had to do and really enjoyed this task oriented role. We found great success in these activities for him and there were minimal times of boredom and as you say aggression of which he also had. Hope this helps a little for you. Kind Regards Kim
Susan 22nd May 2019 Activity Director
Kim thank you for this information I think this will be very helpful and is something that Carol can you use for her husband
I hope you try these ideas Carol
Molly 26th May 2019 Activity Professional & Writer
Hi Carol,

Does he have a clipboard and a badge? We once had a resident who missed his working days as well so we gave him a clipboard with a spreadsheet and a badge. We would have special projects like checking if everyone had a name tag on their door, but mostly he took it upon himself to assign his work tasks for the day. Everyone knew that he was at work and would speak to him as if he were this type of structure seemed to work for him and has been replicated with great success on our unit!

Molly
Susan 27th May 2019 Activity Director
The clipboard and badge are good we used to give residents badges to wear they really seem to like them
Teresa 27th May 2019 Activity Director
Marketing.... Have him market your activities for the day. Tell him your weakness is marketing and you could use his help. Provide him with anything he can use to market like flyers to pass out, a daily schedule, etc. meet with him every morning to review and give details about the activities so he has his morning meeting to get started.
Susan 28th May 2019 Activity Director
Teresa that's a great idea
He may also help the activity director to pending on how he does with this task even if it's not perfect will give them something to do

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